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Today’s Food and Wine Review

Can you believe it’s the end of January already? The day light hours are getting longer here, we’re up to over nine hours between sunrise and sunset. I know that doesn’t sound like a super feat, but when you consider in the dead of winter we only get seven hours and thirty-four minutes of daylight, it is something to celebrate.

For a mini-celebration I fixed a chicken dish, Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onions, that was really yummy. I can’t sew a straight line, but I can cook. I sautéed the chicken breasts in olive oil and white wine, added sliced onions and a can of drained diced tomatoes to cook the onions until tender. I added garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. After the chicken and onions were almost done I added sliced bell peppers, red, yellow and orange, and a half cup of sun-dried tomatoes and continued to cook until the peppers were tender. It looked amazing and tasted that good too.

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For the wine, I opened a bottle of an Italian red wine that was a gift for Christmas. The wine, Sant Andrea Riflessi was a dark red color in the glass almost opaque and I could smell cherries and blackberries when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine was dry and soft in the mouth. There was no harsh bite, just a lush smooth liquid. I could taste a bit of wood, dried fruit and tobacco. The wine was a 2015 vintage and had an alcohol content of 12.5%.

The wine complemented the dinner perfectly, or maybe it was the dinner that complemented the wine. Now I want to make a wine trek to Italy in search of more deliciousness.

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Today’s Wine Review

To celebrate the 4th of July and a rare day off together, I tried a variation on a meal I recently made from Pinterest. I took the original recipe for a Pinwheel Flank Steak and changed it up a bit. Instead of the Italian seasonings, fresh basil and mozzarella, I went spicy. I used chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cilantro and Mexican cheese. I grilled it on the grill for about twenty minutes. To go with it I made a salad and roasted Brussels sprouts. The meat was spicy with a bit of heat, not overwhelming, but definitely left you with a warm mouth. I think I liked the spicy version better.

For the wine I opened a bottle of TerrAmore, Nero D’Avola, a Sicilian wine, vintage 2014. The wine was a dark red purple color in the glass. I smelled alcohol and a smoky aroma too. The wine was dry with chocolate and cherry notes. There was a smoky bite at the end. The wine had a medium finish that was a bit harsh, more so than other Nero D’Avolas I’ve had.

The wine was still very drinkable, but I think for the spicy meat, I should have gone with a Pinot Noir, a blend or a Zinfandel, something more fruit forward or jammie.

Today’s Wine Review

I like a wide variety of wines, red, white, rosé, still or sparkling, I’m always up to try new wines. As much as I like a good cabernet or zinfandel, I also like a light sparkling moscato. I especially like the bubbly light fruity taste when I pair it with a spicy hot dish. The light fruity slightly sweet wine goes down so well and fast when I eat a spicy dish like chicken fajitas.

For dinner I had fixed chicken fajitas and opened a bottle of Ecco Domani Sparkling Moscato. It is an Italian wine, 2011 vintage and only 8.5% alcohol, which makes it so easy to drink a lot more than I usually drink. I paid under $15 a bottle so quite reasonable. This is a wine I love to keep on hand.

The wine is almost clear in the glass and has a fresh fruit aroma. I could taste orange blossoms and tropical fruit. The sweetness helped soften the heat of the jalapenos and red chiles in the fajitas. The heat of the fajitas made it necessary to drink more wine. A win – win situation, wouldn’t you say?

Today’s Wine Review

As promised this is a sampling of some of my dessert and sparkling wine suggestions for the coming celebrations and festivities. Some of these are a bit pricey and there are certainly a wide range of Champagnes and Sparkling wines out there that will fit into all budgets. As for the dessert wines and Ports some of them can be very expensive especially the aged Ports but I’ve also found a few less expensive bottles of Port that taste very good. The most expensive Champagne below is the Tattinger “La Francaise” Brut that sells for $65 a bottle, but it is a very good bottle, something to save for a special celebration.

Dessert Wines

Le Tertre Du Lys Sauterne – A French dessert wine that is a bit sweet but definitely not too sweet. This a wonderful after dinner wine. One that I think I could drink the whole bottle all by myself.

Sandeman 10 year old Tawny Port – A wonderful port with warm caramel and honey flavors and smooth and very drinkable.

Provincia di Pavia – Roscato – This is a red sweet wine, that goes very well with desserts, it’s soft and smooth a bit sweet but not overly sweet.

Sandeman Tawny Port – This is a more affordable port than the 10 year old aged port but it is still a very nice tawny port with the warm honey and caramel flavors.

Sparkling Wines

Tattinger “La Francaise” Brut – This was very nice, dry with a bite.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs – This is one of my favorites, not too dry with a slight bit of sweetness that tasted like strawberries.

Renardat Fache Cerdon du Bugey – This one is a bit sweeter than the other Champagnes, but very drinkable.

Domaine Carneros by Tattinger Brut – This one is dry with a mineral taste and very clean tasting.

Cavicchioli – Spumante – This is light and bubbly a touch sweet perfect with cherry pie.

Today’s Wine Review

Today’s Wine Review

In two weeks it will be Thanksgiving and the official kick off of the holiday season. I know that the stores have been running ads and specials since before Halloween, but to me Thanksgiving is the starting point. Running around in search of the perfect gift for family, friends and co-workers, promises to be a constant source of anxiety and stress. I don’t know about you, but I agonize over the perfect gift for each one of my family members and close friends. Mitch hates going shopping with me because he knows that I’m going to drag him all over the countryside looking for that perfect gift, I’ll even go to multiple stores looking and looking, then head back to the first or second store and buy the item I had first seen. Silly huh? Well this year I would like to say I have a plan and not go through the same shopping excursions as in the past, but I know that nothing will change, I will go through the same agonizing search. The difference this year will be that I plan on drinking more wine which will ease my anxiety some.

I’ve been working on my list of wines that will get me through the holidays and some may end up as Christmas presents, hostess gifts and just because I wanted to gifts. The list is a mixture of red and white wines all under $25 a bottle and some are under $10 a bottle so as not to break the bank and still have very tasty drinkable wines.

For the white wine drinker I have a few choices that I always buy just to have around.

Ironstone Vineyards – Symphony – CA Wine – White blend – Fresh and bright, light and clean, a little sweet fruit forward wine that is very drinkable and goes well with spicy foods or just sitting on the deck enjoying a couple of glasses

Apothic Wines – CA Wine – White blend – Fuller body, a bit sweet and fruity taste that goes well with spicy Mexican food

Ruffino – Lumina – Italian Wine – Pinot Grigio – Light and crisp – tastes like pears – almost clear in the glass – goes well chicken and salads

Joel Gott – CA Wine – Sauvignon Blanc – Dry with a mineral taste, light and clean – very nice with pork chops

Clos du Bois – CA Wine – Sauvignon Blanc – Dry clean and crisp, with a citrusy taste, great chilled in the summer

For the red wine drinker these are some of the wines that I keep on hand to go with whatever I decide to fix for dinner.

Silver Palm Wines – CA Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon – Very smooth, tastes of cherries and dark fruit, soft and not at all harsh, goes great with steaks on the grill

Joel Gott – CA Wine – Zinfandel – Very smooth and jammie tasting, full bodied, goes well with grilled red meats

Belle Glos Wines – Meiomi – CA Wines – Pinot Noir – Soft and smooth, with a spicy bite, dark fruit taste and dry, nice finish goes well with red meat or turkey

Joel Gott – CA Wines – Cabernet Sauvignon – Lush and smooth, dry full bodied with berry notes, another wine that goes well with grilled meats or pasta

Tormaresca Puglia – Neprica – Italian Wine – Red blend – Full bodied and dry, nice bite with dark berry fruit taste, it has a nice balance, goes well with steak

This list is just a start, a teaser so to speak. I’ll make another list as it closer to Thanksgiving, this one with some of my favorite sparkling and dessert wines.

Today’s Wine Review

I’m always on the hunt for a great bottle of wine, especially one that is relatively inexpensive too. When I find a bottle of wine that tastes great and is still within my budget I feel like I’ve gotten away with something. Granted I would dearly love to taste one of those pricey bottles of wine, like Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon at $850 a bottle, just to taste and savor something that good. But I also know that the likelihood of that ever happening is farfetched, so I keep on the hunt for great wines at great prices.

One of those wines I found that fit in my budget under $15 a bottle and turned out to be very tasty too was a red wine from Sicily, Stemmari, Nero D’Avola, 2012. Nero D’Avola is a red wine grape that is one of the indigenous grapes of Sicily. You can find it at http://www.stemmari.it. I paired it with pork chops and roasted Brussel sprouts. The wine was dry and soft with a medium finish. It had a taste of strawberries and cranberries. Fresh and soft, easy to drink and it went well with the pork chops. It had an alcohol content of 13.5% not too high but enough to know you were drinking wine.

This is a wine that would go great with turkey at Thanksgiving, especially if you are looking for a red wine and don’t want to drink Pinot Noir. This is a wine that would complement ham too I think and if you are having Italian like lasagna or veal parmesan for Thanksgiving then it would be a match made in heaven.

It was definitely a wine that I will buy again.

Today’s Wine Review

I love to cook and try new recipes as well as try new wines. Sunday our friends came to dinner and I decided that it would a great opportunity to do both. Our friends are always up for adventures in food and wine and I figured that if the food turned out to be unpalatable then there was always pizza and if the wines were really bad, we had plenty more to choose from. For the entrée I decided to try a new chicken recipe and adapt it to my taste. The recipe “Tomato Basil Chicken” was very good but it called for 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes. That wasn’t enough, next time I will make it with at least 4 cups tomatoes. Plus it needed more garlic. But overall pretty tasty. I also made a zucchini dish with zucchini and squash from my garden. The recipe called for basil and thyme, but I used basil and oregano instead, because I think basil and oregano go better together. I think it has something to do with my Sicilian heritage. For the dessert I made Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. The recipe didn’t call for enough Cinnamon, but I rectified that by adding Cinnamon to the crust and a lot more to the streusel topping.

We also tried some very different wines that we don’t have and drink normally. To start we opened a Romanian bottle of red wine that was a gift from another friend. It was called Terra Romana Cuvee Charlotte, 2006. The winery can be found at http://www.terrafirmausa.com. It was made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Feteasca Neagra. I had never heard of Feteasca Neagra grapes or in English called the Black Maiden, which are an old Romanian grape grown for high end wines. The alcohol content ranges from 12 to 14% and this bottle was 14%, so pretty high alcohol. It was aged in oak barrels and it had that smoky oaky taste. It was dry and acidic and tasted of dark fruit. We all agreed we were pleasantly surprised.

The second bottle we opened was one of the wines that I bought when we were in Texas in May. This one was a Tempranillo, 2006, from Woodrose Winery in Stonewall, Texas. The winery can be found at http://www.woodrosewinery.com. It also had a high alcohol content of 13.6%. This wine was soft and a lighter wine than the first one. Not big and full like some other Tempranillo’s I’ve had.

For dessert we opened up a bottle of Roscato an Italian Sweet Red Wine from Rosso Dolce Provincia di Pavia Indicazione Geografica Tipica. This wine was soft and smooth, with red fruit and cherry notes. It was semisweet but not overly sweet. It complemented the Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars wonderfully. The bottle didn’t last long enough; needless to say I needed more Roscato.

Three wines from three different countries; the Romanian one was a nice surprise. I have had it for a while and to be honest I’ve been a bit leery about trying it. Romania and wine, I wasn’t too optimistic about how good it would be. I thought of it as I do Missouri wines, nothing to write home about. I thought that by sharing it with our friends and if it wasn’t very good, at least between four of us, we would be able to get it down. But I was wrong about it and would not be so skeptical in the future. The Tempranillo from Woodrose Winery was okay, but not nearly as good as the one I had from Pedernales Winery. That’s my biggest problem with wine tasting, after six or seven or more tastes, wines taste much better than later when I’m sober. The Roscato was a very nice finish, not too sweet just soft and smooth.

All in all the dinner and wine experiment was a success, I way overate and was totally miserable. But how do you say no to cheesecake?

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